Do you ever daydream about retirement and then wonder what impact you've made in your work life? I'm not even close to retirement and sometimes I am envious of those individuals who are embarking on the retirement phase of their life journey. There are a couple of individuals who have played significant roles in the success of our region as a tourism and meetings destination.
Johnna Boxley, General Manager of the Spokane Convention Center, has recently retired from more than 20 years working with meetings and conventions on behalf of our community. Marshall Farnell, Spokane County CEO, is preparing for retirement soon. Marshall was instrumental in helping establish the first ever Tourism Promotion Area (TPA) in Washington State, right here in Spokane County.
These two individuals will both be missed, and to be sure, they both made a difference for our destination.
Johnna worked with Visit Spokane, the hotels, and many businesses within the community to help attract conventions and support local and regional events. At her last board meeting with Visit Spokane, she reported that there are 477 contracted events at the convention center between now and 2020. She estimated that 93 of those events will bring out-of-town visitors who will use 132,000 hotel room nights and spend about $184 million dollars. Johnna - thank you for your work that led to the economic reality that translates to local tax relief and a better quality of life for Spokane County.
Although he has not yet retired, now is a good time to recognize and thank Marshall for his role in establishing the TPA. As a government official, his leadership paved the way to building support for establishing the TPA. He accepted the opportunity and worked with hoteliers Harry Sladich, Ron Anderson, Liz Beck and Denise Vickerman, as well as Dennis McLaughlin and others to be the first to create a regional tourism program with dedicated funding. He understood that Spokane County was being out-spent by the competition and that regional positioning could make tourism marketing and sports promotion more effective. Before he slips away into retirement, let's make
sure to thank him for his part in making the TPA successful for Spokane. It became THE example for other communities in our state.
My perspective is that tourism is a team sport and that we all work together for accumulative rewards. Today, let's thank two star players for the excellent job they've done for the team.
President & CEO
2015 Annual Meeting
We look forward to seeing you at our Annual Meeting
, October 28 at the Spokane Convention Center! The meeting will include our annual report, a look ahead, presentation of tourism awards and a keynote presentation by Gilad Berenstein, CEO and founder of Utrip. We'll have a few special things sprinkled in there as well.
When: October 28 - Doors open: 2:30pm, Program: 3-4:30pm, Networking: 4:30-5:30pm
Where: Spokane Convention Center, Centennial Ballroom
Stir It Up
Thank you for "stirring it up" with us on October 14 at Ruby Suites and Caruso's! We had a blast meeting with everyone and learning about what's new in the Spokane region. Stay tuned for information about the next Stir It Up event!
Chinese Lantern Festival Extended
Great news - the Washington State Chinese Lantern Festival has been extended through November 15! The festival was originally scheduled to conclude on November 1, but due to the immense success the festival has had so far, it was decided to continue the event for two more weeks. For more information about the festival, visit
Where in the World
Director of National Accounts - Eastern Region Ann Garvey and Director of National Accounts - Midwest Region Kim Ritten traveled to Detroit, August 8-13, for the ASAE Annual Meeting. This was a great opportunity to network with industry colleagues and potential clients.
Kim also traveled to Lake Geneva, WI August 29-30 for the HelmsBriscoe Cares Classic. This was an annual fundraiser, teambuilding and golf tournament and had 92 HelmsBriscoe representatives in attendance.
Director of Operations Valeta Sweet and Finance Director Maureen Dodroe traveled to Los Angeles, September 15-18, for the DMAI Finance, Operations & Technology Summit. This was an opportunity to network with industry peers and learn about new practices in the field of finance, operations and technology.
Director of Leisure Sales Charlotte Finnegan attended DMAI Shirtsleeves September 27-30 in Salt Lake City. The educational conference provided an opportunity to gain new ideas and learn best practices for visitor centers and visitor services.
Director of Sales Shannon Shannon and Director of National Accounts Chris McKinney attended the PCMA/MPI Summit in Seattle on September 11, along with representatives from the Spokane Convention Center and Davenport Hotels. This was an educational opportunity to learn about the state of the industry and network with meeting planners and regional suppliers.
Kim Ritten hosted a client dinner with 11 other destination representatives in Kansas City on September 30. There were 25 clients that attended and took part in networking with industry colleagues, clients and potential clients.
We love to work collaboratively with our partners. One place for us to work together is on the Destination Marketing Committee. The DMC meets once a month to learn about new assets of our region, as well as to share what is new and exciting with our individual businesses. It's an opportunity for us to learn more about each other, so that we can market our destination as a whole, create further partnerships and more.
Are you taking advantage of the Destination Marketing Committee? All partners are welcome. If you are currently not receiving invitations to the committee meetings but would like to, please contact Calvin Elam at
Upcoming ACE Classes
Become a member of the Inland Northwest ACE Team! ACE Training includes two hours of class, learning about Spokane history and facts, customer service, etc., and is followed by a two hour bus tour of the Spokane region. To sign up for a future class, email Melissa at email@example.com.
We also are in need of hosts for future trainings! Below is a list of dates:
Thursday, November 19, 9am-1pm
Tuesday, December 8, 1-5pm
Tuesday, January 12, 1-5pm
Thursday, March 24, 9am-1pm
Tuesday, April 19, 1-5pm
Friday, May 20, 9-1pm
If you are interested in hosting a training at your facility, please email Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Partners in September
Caruso's Sandwich Co; Coeur d'Alene
Caruso's Sandwich Co; Spokane Valley
Caruso's Sandwich Co; U District
One Tree Hard Cider
Paint and Pints
Spokane Trail Rides
The Blackbird Tavern + Kitchen
The Ridler Piano Bar
Twilight Cider Works
Holiday Inn Express Downtown
Northwestern Stage Lines
Spokane Tribe of Indians
Two Rivers Casino
FairBridge Inn Express
Inland Empire Tours
Mobius Children's Museum
City of Spokane, City Council
Green Bluff Growers
Numerica Credit Union
Oxford Suites Spokane
Atticus Coffee & Gifts
Days Inn & Suites Spokane/Airway Heights
Global Experience Specialists (GES)
Spokane Community College
Steelhead Bar & Grille
Wingate by Wyndham
Chinook Steak, Pasta & Spirits at the Coeur d'Alene Casino
Davenport Spa and Salon
Jimmy John's - GU District
Red Tail Bar & Grill at the Coeur d'Alene Casino
Ritters Garden & Gift
Spa Ssakwa'q'n at the Coeur d'Alene Casino
Two Dog City Tours